Image says it all peeps. Life has been really busy these past few weeks. My students have received textbooks for their computer courses, and though each doesn’t have their own set (far too expensive), they have been working hard at absorbing through text everything I have taught them over the past year. They have their national examinations for their first year certification in December. Needless to say, they are a little stressed.
On top of that, I was recalled to Nairobi for Close of Service (COS) medical examinations this past week and next week I will be hosting the ICT session for the new Peace Corps trainees at both training sites. That’s right, our program has grown, and we now train in both Loitokitok and Machakos. I have never been to Machakos, so it will be nice to see a new town. As always, it will also be good to go “home” to Loitokitok, even if only for a couple nights.
In the meantime, I find myself in the village Mitheru, just outside the town of Chuka. I am here helping a volunteer out with some resource creation, as well as using the abundant electricity and lack of distractions to get a lot of other little projects done for various people: a logo here, some consultation there, and some programming to finish it off. Busy indeed. So please, bear with me and my dearth of blog posts, as I have “gone fishin.'”
America doesn’t export much. We all know that. The trade deficit is huge, and though there are arguments about whether or not this is healthy for the economy, in general it makes people uneasy. But don’t worry, this isn’t a post about global scale economics and trade; it’s a far more normal post. One thing America does still export however, is its culture. And by culture, I mean the, “pizza and polka,” side of culture (as a Aussie sociology professor puts it). In particular, America is very good at exporting its movies, its music and its television, as well as all of the celebrity culture and gossip that comes along with it. Heck, we even take in other peoples’ celebrities and rebrand them as American. Did you know that Van Damme is Belgian?
Coming to Kenya, I was shocked at how little American culture is apparent here. For all you hear about international corporations and whatnot, the only branding that I recognized was Coca Cola. There is not a McDonalds or Wal-Mart in sight. And of course, being a former British colony, Kenya has followed European-originated sports, leaving the only American-sports branding to be found on the clothing at the market where it has lost all meaning. Where is American culture?
Turns out, a few errant, seemingly unrelated, strains of American culture have made their way into the fledgling, post-colonial, DNA of Kenya. But boy, sometimes I wonder how they got here. So here they are, as I have witnessed:
- Dolly Parton – People here love her!
- WWE Wrestling – I have been told I look like one of the wrestlers by all the deaf school children at Paul’s school; how’s that for cultural integration!
- Campy, 80’s, Action Movies: AH-Nohld, Van Damme, Stalone and the like.
- Gangsta Rap and Hip Hop, though Eminem is a personal choice.
It’s a bit of an odd list, and always makes for good discussion when PCVs get together. One of the stories that I never get tired of hearing about is when a trainee shares his or her first experience of their host-family sitting down to a nice dinner… in front of Jon Cena kneeing his opponent in the crotch on the latest WWE match.
I love statistics, and I love data mining, through I admit its creepy how statistically predictable human nature is. Upon looking at my stats page (courtesy WordPress.com), I am noticing a natural trend in which of my articles are being read as well as what types of Google searches are bringing people to my blog. With that out of the way, I just want to say Hello New Peace Corps Kenya Trainees! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or shoot me off an email. Would be more than happy to help in any way I can. Hope the blog is helping as well! Can’t wait to meet some of you in June!
Sorry for not having a longer post today. I am coding and my brain is all sorts messed up and thinking about vector math and wondering why I never took advanced geometry or linear algebra. Oh right, because I don’t like math. How could I forget!?
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The road is paved just a bit more. My body is just a bit more accustomed to the bumpy road. The Kimasai/Kiswahili/English language mix is becoming slightly more intelligible.
The air is crisp. Kilimanjaro is standing proud, her wispy clouds a perpetual wedding vale, waiting for the day someone worthy of her majesty presents himself. The land is green and fertile. Zebra graze and giraffe stride majestically across the plains.
I never know how much I miss it until I come back.
Most all education institutes in Kenya follow a three on, one off, schedule for their school year. This simply means we have three months of teaching, followed by one month of holiday. Of course, NYSTC is slightly different from every other institution in that though we follow the 3/1 pattern, our year starts in May, not January, but that’s just trivia, and not really a major impact on my life. For this past year in Kenya, there has always been some work to get done during my month, “off,” from teaching, which has prevented me from actually going on a single holiday. Believe it or not, despite all my adventures around Kenya, which I am lucky to have, none of them have been true vacations, they have always been, “work related.” That’s about to change 🙂 Continue reading